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Tribute to 171 journalists killed in 2007

2 January 2008

The National Union of Journalists has paid tribute to the 171 journalists who were killed because of their profession in 2007. The level of deaths is only slightly below that for 2006 when a record 177 journalists were confirmed killed.

The data, published by the International Federation of Journalists (PDF), shows journalists in Iraq have faced the greatest dangers; 65 journalists died there, more than a third of the world total.

The figures, which are co-ordinated with the International News Safety Institute, cover all journalists killed because of their work, including targeted murders, and deaths while covering violent events. They also incorporate journalists involved in accidents while working on stories, although these cases account for only about one-fifth of cases.

Journalists were killed covering the conflicts in Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan. Unrest in Sri Lanka and Pakistan also led to many deaths. Attacks on journalists have continued in Africa and the brutal repression of free expression in Eritrea led to two deaths there last year.

Coverage of drug trafficking is also a dangerous business. Many journalists are believed to have been killed for their reporting on gangs, drugs and corrupt politicians throughout Latin America.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ President, said:

"These figures show the horrific dangers that thousands of journalists face because of their work. On average a journalist is killed every other day yet, despite the threats, they continue to work under unstable and hazardous conditions. That people are willing to risk their lives to report the news demonstrates a commendable commitment to the basic tenets of journalism.
"It's vitally important that people can get an independent view of events in countries like Iraq and Pakistan. Media organisations must do all they can to support and protect journalists working in these difficult environments.
"It is particularly shocking that in some cases killers are literally getting away with murder. All these cases of targeted killings should be fully investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice."

The figures show local journalists are most at risk – the vast majority of cases involve people working for national or regional media killed in their own communities.

Jim Boumelha, the President of the IFJ, added:

"We salute all of our colleagues out there who face danger as they try to provide news for their communities. We will continue our fight to make sure that safety conditions improve."

Tags: , ifj, journalists killed, press freedom, iraq